Sixteen UK health charities, including Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, have come together to promote vaccine uptake among those with long-term health conditions and their carers, who are eligible to receive their first jab as part of current vaccine priority cohorts.
Under the Government vaccination strategy, people with certain underlying health conditions and their carers have been considered part of cohort 6 in the UK vaccine priority groups.
Since February 15, 2021, those in cohort 6 have been receiving invitations from their GP practice to come forward and receive their first Covid-19 vaccine jab.
In order to encourage as many people as possible within the group to take up the offer, the collective of frontline UK health charities are to utilise their existing, extensive networks to both encourage and reassure eligible people.
These charities are well placed to encourage people from cohort 6 - which covers individuals aged 16 to 64 with certain long-term conditions, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as being at higher clinical risk from Covid-19.
Conditions identified by the JCVI include chronic respiratory, heart, kidney, liver disease and neurological conditions, including MS and epilepsy, vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen, morbid obesity, severe mental illness, as well as sickle cell, lupus and those on GP learning disability registers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The incredible success of our vaccination programme has only been possible by working in partnership with the NHS, health and care professionals, local partners and our volunteers.
“Having the support of the charities who work every day to support the very people we are reaching out to in cohort 6 is a great boost for the rollout which continues to show what we can achieve when we pull together as one.
“Their help, encouragement and links with communities next in line for the jab will help make sure everyone can get access to the life-saving protection the vaccine provides and help protect those with underlying conditions and their carers.”
The sixteen organisations who have currently committed to working as members of this UK charity coalition are:
- African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT)
- Asthma UK
- British Heart Foundation
- British Liver Trust
- British Lung Foundation
- Cancer Research UK
- Carers UK
- Diabetes UK
- Epilepsy Action
- Kidney Care UK
- Lupus UK
- MacMillan Cancer Support
- MS Society
- Sickle Cell Society
- Terrence Higgins Trust